KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Thursday rejected the objections raised by the Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair over the recently passed Sindh Universities and Institutes Amendment Bill 2018, which aims to empower the chief minister in decision making of the 23 universities and institutes of the province.

The governor Sindh had returned the Sindh Universities and Institutes Amendment Bill 2018 after it was passed by the house and sent for his assent including three other bills pertaining to Sohail University Bill 2018, University of Tando Muhammad Khan and Medical College Bill 2018 and Kali Mori University Hyderabad.

The House proceedings began half an hour late from scheduled timing on Thursday and during the proceedings, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro requested the speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to allow to bring the issue of rejection of four bills from the governor Sindh as supplementary agenda. The speaker gave his nod to the request.

The chief minister while giving the stance of the provincial government over the issue at the floor of the house said that they had made these amendments to empower the chief minister in the public sector universities and institutes as per the 18th amendment.

“Those who had been rejected by masses are calling to roll back the 18th amendment and they are the ones campaigning for it,” he said referring to calls for alteration in unanimously passed 18th amendment from different quarters.

He said that it is the chief minister who is answerable before the assembly on the performance of the universities not the governor Sindh.

“The governor has objected over giving so many powers to the chief minister in his objection but he should remember that it is the assembly that has given him these powers,” he said adding that in past the vice chancellor even seek holidays permission from governor and the provincial government did not interfere in the affairs.

After powers under the 18 amendment we have never summoned any vice chancellor in the chief minister house in past one and a half year except for their appointment interviews, the chief minister said.

Rejecting an objection from governor over a clause in the bill pertaining to removal of the vice chancellor before time, the chief minister said that in a country where laws are made for impeachment of the president and the chief justice, is a vice chancellor above law that he could not be removed.

“The law only allows removing the vice chancellor if his performance is unsatisfactory or he is found indulged of any wrongdoing,” he said.

The chief minister also rejected an objection pertaining to guidelines to be issued from the provincial government for the varsities under the bill and said that being a provincial matter who would issue guidelines other than the provincial government.

We are ready to address any loop holes in the lawmaking but pointing fingers at the decision making of the assembly was not a good gesture, he said adding that they had not done anything which is against the constitution.

He said that they had not touched the powers of the federation to establish universities in a province and run under their governance.       

“As per the spirit of the constitution and democracy, the real power lies with the assembly rather than a single person,” said the chief minister.

Other treasury members including Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Education Minister Jam Mehtab and others also supported the move and made speeches in its favour.

MQM Parliamentary Leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said that they do not oppose the constitutional rights of the provincial government but when a vice chancellor is appointed for four years then he should be allowed to work freely for the time period without any political interference.

Faisal Sabzwari said that provincial government is taking the higher education affairs in its hand but is unable to make improvements in other education standards it already controls.

“The copy culture across the province in examinations is making a mockery of their education standards,” he said.

He criticized Sindh government for giving excuse of implementing the constitution in this context and said they forget implementation when it comes to giving powers to the local bodies’ representatives.

The re-consideration and discussion on the bill was later adjourned for today (Friday) after MQM-P lawmaker Muhammad Hussain asked as to why the provincial government wants to legislate on the issue in haste and the chief minister supported him to defer the matter for the next sitting.

Moreover, Sindh Holy Quran (Printing, Recording And Disposal Of Damaged Or Shaheed And Sacred Auraqs) Bill, 2018 was passed unanimously from the house despite reservation from MQM-Pakistan over formation of a board comprising clerics to review its affairs.

The bill was aimed at ensuring the publication of the Holy Quran free from errors of printing, recording and proper disposal of damaged and shaheed copies of sacred material from the Holy Quran.

The MQM-P Parliamentary Leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said that the board should be made to review the issues under the Islamic scholars rather than the clerics as none of the clerics from different sects would agree over one point. However, his objection was rejected.

The Minister for Law said that the concerns from the lawmakers would be considered and the board is established as per the procedures in other provinces.

The Minister for Information said that they would reach out to all clerics for consultations.

The Sindh regularisation of veterinary doctors appointed on contract basis bill, 2018 was also introduced in the house.